Here are some examples of MIS middle school creative writing, past and present:


Alabanaza:  In Praise of Missoula International School, on September 11, 2018

Written by MIS 7th graders, class of 2020

Thank you to Martin Espada for the inspiration


Alabanza, the books on the bookshelf, words circling to create individual memories.

Praise Sabine, in her nook, ruling her domain, mind tumbling.

Alabanza, the colorful projects made by shaky little hands, doing all they could do to color in the small black lines.

Alabanza, to all who do jobs that others’ don’t want to do.  Praise.

Praise to the preschool teachers who stand on chairs and put up squiggly masterpieces for all to see.  

Praise the neon yellow of a highlighter, the word, “Wow!”, a shelf labeled FICTION.


Praise the flags of polka dots and hearts, flags of nations we’ve yet to discover.

Praise my school, always so colorful and bright, full of fun and positivity.

Alabanza, the whisper of my classmates, the footsteps of my teacher walking slowly

to take in every detail.

Alabanza, the scratch of a pencil recording every movement,

trying to grasp inspiration.

Alabanza.  Praise the amazing teachers I have who have helped me with my personal issues,

the friends who make life worth living — funny, kind and straightforward.  That’s you, amigos!

Praise the quiet wind, not rustling a single branch.

Alabanza.  Praise the fresh dew on the mountain, what makes me feel secure and grateful.

Praise the screaming children, their voices never to be silenced.

Alabanza.  Praise the soft opening of a door as she steps into the light.

Praise construction, the rebuilding of all things.  

Alabanza to the sun shining brightly, the sun, the guardian of our secrets.  


A Moment in Time

by Miko Lindquist-North

MIS, 6th grade


The air is soft like a new born duckling in the safety of the nest.  I am the duckling waddling on the sweet smelling dirt, watching my mother and sister weave through the water like a bird through the clouds.  The water is cold and full of thrashing salmon.  The air smells of roses and wild-flowers.  The water is soothing like a lullaby.  And for a moment, the world goes still.  There is a black bear in the distance walking through the tall grass with her cubs.


I am the bear cub running and jumping through the trees.  It begins to rain.  The cool droplets wet my coat but I don’t care.  The rain turns into a downpour and the air smells of fresh pine in the morning.  The trees loom above me, sheltering me and my family.  A hawk circles above, stalking her prey.  The world goes still and my senses over take me.  The cool wind, the fresh pine air and the soft music of rain on the leaves.


I am the hawk, soaring above everything, darting through the thick blanket of white cotton, dyed red.  I am the hawk soaring above the clouds, watching the sun melt-away into the soothing pink sky.  And again, the world goes still and I am nature – the hawk soaring in the sky above me, the bear cub running through the dense forest, the duckling floating in the clear water, without a care in the world.  And for a moment, just a moment, I am free.  Soaring like the hawk, bounding like the bear, floating like the duckling.  I am free!








The Beetle

by Nina Erving

MIS, 6th grade


My nose an inch from the ground

Soft green grass, not quite long

enough to tickle me inside my ear


It jumps away as quick as a flash


Sound of birds chirping

From one high cheetah paced notes to a

series of low snail paced notes


The smell of pine needles, freshly broken

The attracting sharp scents


Reaching my hand out

I pluck a beetle from the grass

Carefully I lift it in to the sun


It’s wings were the color of lupine

It’s eyes were the size of a pin

It’s legs were as thin as a plant’s root


I then lay it down

Watching it stumble over the grass

I giggle and hop to a rock


Rolling over I see the blue sky

Clouds make shapes and polka dots


I close my eyes and realize

the power of nature is a true thing
















by Kine Stimac

MIS, 8th grade


I can see the veins of my city

the pulse of the sky

the floating of fog

tumbling and twisting

upon the glass sheet of sky


Release the drip of a faucet

the rust of a dream

the fall of a tree

the halt of a road,

a journey

look out and see

the lights of the night

the shine that you can show


venture to hear a creek

of a branch

the blanket of dark

to cover the world

venture out.


Sounds of Nature

by Gillian Sherrill

MIS, 6th grade


In a place where no one can judge you or hurt you.

No one there, but the creatures who call this their home.

Pine cones fall from the trees as you walk in time,

as they hit the ground.

Birds easily glide through the trees,

serenading the forest with their voices, as sweet as honey.

A doe, leaps along, keeping a steady beat.

The wind weaves its way throughout the rain, as it begins to fall

lightly, hitting the smooth leaves and then falling on to a soft bed of pine needles,

cushioning the fall.  And the last sound you hear, as you exit the dense trees,

is the forest whispering goodbye.


































One Step Into my Soul

by Liza Litting

MIS, 7th grade


Step out of your thick wall of judgment, that guides you and keeps you back, stuck like Gorilla Glue.

Step out of your ideas of society, and your religion, or beliefs, and put on your worn-out Converse shoes, holes in the heels.

Open up the creaking, dusty door to your soul, and venture through the dimly lit hallways.

Step out into the long beach and let the sand squeak through your toes,

paint chipped from the nails.

The willow trees sway softly, shimmering in the shadows on the green grass.

The moon is still awake, in the mid-day heat.

Allow the sun to melt away your worries and clear your mind.  Pranayama.

The waves will carry you down,

back to the doorway glowing with life.  Breathe.

That door will stay open, as long as your mind does.  Your soul will bring you back,

out into the wild, full of adventure.







No Open Spaces

Ian Curtis

MIS, 7th grade


Living in a world with no open spaces would be like attempting to talk without a tongue. Your skin needs vitamin D from the U.V rays that the sun provides. The lack of nature would desensitize you, and it would degrade at your happiness. That way of life would become so deeply engrained in your brain and soul that you would forget what the wilderness is like. In short, it would probably kill you.





















Mathias Kellman-Gross

MIS, 8th grade


Nature is the beginning,

The end,

The cause and

The resolution.

It is our past and

Our future,

The question

And the answer.

It is the heat in a fire

And the chill in a fire.

Nature is life

And death

The Gentle Stream

by Will Erving

MIS, 7th grade


The wilderness is our home away from home.  For us, with us, to help us overcome our challenges and just to have a respite away from our busy lives.  To walk into a pine forest or to watch a group of grouse scatter into the air as you hike by, is to experience our past, our present and hopefully our future.  This is an amazing feeling – to know that our ancestors have walked through this same meadow and to know that this meadow is always here.  It is a gentle stream, flowing with life.















by Dana Webber

MIS, 7th grade


The trees in the forest hug me as I come by.  Their spindly branches move back and forth, swaying in the wind.  The animals come out, biting at my heels to get me to play.  The river splashes me and I splash it back.  The incredible apple tree that grows in the center, hands me an apple.  I thank her and climb into her branches.  A raccoon watches me carefully.  His eyes watch my perfect apple.  I pick one and hand it to him.   I fall into a sleep filled with happiness.  I wave to the black, intense eyes of the raccoon as they watch me intently.  I climb from the apple tree, hug the trees once more, and leave the forest behind.  All the animals watch me as I go, then crawl back into the darkness.

















Her Voice, Whispering Through the Trees

by Calvin Beighle

MIS, 7th Grade


I can feel the earth,

her heartbeat pounding through.

I can feel her breathe,

her voice whispering through the trees.

I can hear her laugh,

her chuckle ringing from the

river canyons.

I can hear her cry,

her presence coming to me.

I stare her in the face,

and she looks back.

For the earth is alive

and we are all with her.



by Ellie Jenni

MIS, 7th Grade


My damp hair whips around my face like snake lungs

I breathe in the salty air as my toes dig deep

into the rocky sand

A wave collapses onto the beach and

rushes toward me

As if its life depends on reaching my ankles

The waters arms caress the black rocks

jutting from the sand like the spines

of an ancient sea monster

The gray clouds above seem to worry the ocean

It tosses and turns and pounds against the cliffs

as if caught in a nightmare

This perfect moment should stay forever

But I know it won’t

Houses will be built

Garbage will fill the water

This unique perfection should stay



by Connor King-Ries

MIS, 7th grade


Breathe in.  Breathe out.

Breathe in.  The tranquility of the forest after rain.  That fresh scent.

Breathe out.  All my petty worries.

Breathe in.  The pale red clouds on the horizon.

Breathe out.  Upcoming tests.  Homework assignments.

Breathe in.  The brilliant white stars burn holes in the black paper of night.

Breathe out.  The media.  Newspapers.  Headlines.

Breathe in.  Jagged rocks.  So sharp and yet so gentle, housing swallows.

Breathe out.


The Rising Sun

by Sydney Brittain, MIS, 8th grade


Sleeping under stars,

wrapped in the cold,

night air.

Point out constellations,

the years and patterns in trees,

and the sound

of rushing water,

along with that oh so sweet,

nostalgic breeze.

With a glow behind the mountains,

watch as a warming orange bulb rises,

beyond the mountains,

that hold in secrets, ready to be discovered.

Listen –the music of the wild –

drink in the sights of brilliant greens.

Bring me here.

Bring me to the stars,

to the tall green trees,

to that breeze I once knew.

Bring me to the rising sun.



by Annika Daniels-Matthews, MIS 7th grade


The lullaby of soft rain,

as it pitters on my worn shoes.


The swish of beaten trees,

as they sway in the lullaby of rain.


The crinkle of rust colored leaves,

as they sit upon the beaten trees.

The leaves crumple in the lullaby of rain.


The flow of a trickling creek,

rust colored leaves beached on shore.

The beaten trees finger the flowing water.

The slow creek listens to the lullaby of rain.

The grey stones paint the ground,

underneath the trickling creek they peacefully lay.

The rust colored leaves so far above.

The beaten trees want to sit with the stones down below.

The lullaby of rain sings the forest to sleep.

So beautiful.


by Oliver Beck

MIS, 6th grade


Listen to the stream trickling down the pebbles.

Hear the ocean, crashing down on to the sand.

Feel the tiny mouse’s paw-steps on the frigid forest floor.

Look into the sparkling flame and hear the

crackling of hot coals.

Feel the light, cold breeze and just

take it all in.


Take My Heart Away

by Sage Brooks

MIS, 6th grade



Come to my arms so I can eat you.


Stay so I can lay you down on a soft pillow of grass.


Never let cars, electronics and the modern world take you back.


Take me in as a brother or mother.


In all this world, you are the one that can save me.


You destroy me, then help me.


Welcome to grassy ricer banks, snowcapped peaks and my soft home


Eat my huckleberries


My heart is your heart

My heart is the heart of all good things.



Dear Mother Nature

by Julian Bain

MIS, 6th Grade


Dear Mother Earth,

Please don’t let them take nature and turn it into big ugly houses and factories.  Please don’t let them hurt you.

Do you see what is happening?  They are destroying the trees from jungles and turning them into houses.  They are killing you, Mother Nature.  Don’t let that happen.  You can’t let down all the birds and bugs and all other living things, you have to save us.  Nature is dying.

-Julian Bain


The Water Flows

by Collin Richardson, MIS, 6th grade


The water flows

down the mountain,

slowly at first,

picking up speed,

the water flows,

like a city of light,


The water flows

smoothly and softly,


The water flows

like a stranger to our world.


The water flows,

like a lion stalking its prey,

swiftly and silently.


The water flows up and over

rocks and fallen trees

like tumbleweeds.


The water flows,

smoothly and silently

with fish and bugs,


The water flows,

like a snake fast,

but silent.


The water flows,

until it tumbles





it goes

The water flows,

like a forest of trees,

full of life

and things to see.

The water flows down mountains

and through valleys,


water flows.

Tumbling Creek of Wild

by Grace Gibson-Snyder

MIS, 6th grade


It’s a note.

Pure and sustained.

A veil

over a melodic scale,

rising and falling,

floating and sinking.

She sounds like laughter,

a ring from a

clean and

unblemished soul,

she hovers above our life.

Through humid,

dripping trees,

over calm,

buggy lakes,

under driving,

pounding rain,

around towering,

bare cliffs

trickling in

swirling sands.

She leads a

circuit way of paths,


between obstacles

of the wild.




by Birch Banks

MIS, 6th grade



The stream flows into the pond

as the deer takes a drink.

There is peace.


The woods are still

but alive with the many smaller creatures.

There is peace.


The lone hiker

walks into the welcoming limbs

of the trees.

There is peace.


As the peace slowly envelopes the land,

the mountains let off a low moan.

The trees creak in tune

with the chirps of birds.

Then the flowing stream ties together the song.


The hiker stops to listen and hears it,

nature’s song of peace.

The hiker slowly feels the peace that

accompanies the song,

and he knows,


that nature is at peace.


He slowly starts walking again,

an the song slowly ends.

As it ends, the woods become

silent again,

but they are still at peace.


This is true peace.

Nature’s peace.


Letter to Mother Earth

by Colton Quirk

MIS, 6th grade


Dear Mother Earth,


I just wanted to thank you for everything you’ve done for the world (I mean, would I even be able to write this letter without you?!).  Here are some things that I am thankful for that you do:

  1.  You give us oxygen
  2. You give us paper (although we make it and it destroys the environment, I am still glad we have trees to make paper)
  3. You give us great experiences (like camping)

Those are the three main reasons (there are tons more I could write) why I think the wilderness is the greatest thing ever.  Thank you again.



Colton Quirk


The Lost Kingdom

by Georgia Walker-Keleher

MIS, 6th grade


I look up,

the clouds moving along,



almost as deceiving

as a hummingbird’s wings.


The maze of grass surrounds me,

not threateningly,

protecting me,

from the sounds of the city

the anger,

the unfairness,

the danger.


I roll over,

my stomach scraping the stones.

A huge form,

an image of raw power,

hulks outside my maze.


He looks up,

and I look deep

into his eyes,

they pull me in,

drawing out my memories.


I saw a glimmer,

a light,

in the ancient eyes,

and I understood,

the reason,

the reason for

the wild.


Rushing Water

by Avery Maxwell

MIS, 6th grade


Listen to the rushing water, feel the crisp feeling of cool water touch your feet.

See the dew on blades of grass.

Release the tightness, worries, fear, anger and let the river

take them away, swallow them up forever.

See the bright colors and changing leaves of fall.

Feel the presence of great ponderosa pines.

Let yourself be free to run and play.

Let your mind run wild.

Drink the clean, clear, crisp water in between cupped hands.

Let nothing keep you from nature.

Let no one pull you back to the city that doesn’t sleep.

Stay here.

Play in the river.

Make friends with birds.

Stay here where deer roam and bears are coming and stay forever.

Forget anything you ever knew about cities

and stay here, where the water flows clean,

where skies are blue and

where you can see the stars at night.

Stay where you can listen to rushing water.


Into the Wilderness

by Max Jakob

MIS, 7th grade


If I had no wilderness around me, I would be miserable.  Nature is the only thing that keeps me sane.  Wilderness is amazing.  Enjoy it.

I could not live without the awakening smell of pine needles.  Or the noises of birds soaring above.  Feel the presence of the wild beast around you and uncover your inner wilderness.



by Dylan Fullerton

MIS, grade 8


The presence of the trees

are like giants slowly walking

through the forest.

As you run past them,

you create the illusion

of the trees following you.


Cutting Stars

by McKenna Quirk

MIS, 7th grade


Snow.  Crackling, shattering.  Diamonds on the surface of the beholder’s eyes, yet crumbles of salt, tumbling and reshaping beneath the weight of feet well-trodden.  The snow has borrowed the mask of the sky.  The sky is melting.  The snow, so plain, simple, blanketed upon this meadow, stretched and beginning to wilt.  But it has learned beauty.  The sky pours its specks of jewels that once dotter its freckled face into the palms of the waiting white, cutting stars and scattering them along its surface.  It shines.  It twinkles.  A soul is born from the dying grass underneath its suffocating body and is sent to the stars, now fading from view and streaks of red rip across the sky.  Sunlight splatters upon the snow and the meadow breathes.  This is the sunrise, saved from the clutches of man.  This is beauty


Wild II

by McKenna Quirk

MIS, 7th grade


Waves thrash against the beach, white-capped and glorifying.  The trees, creaking and flailing in the wind, its breath coming hard and quick, bustling from the sky to the granite rocks, jagged and scooping the waves up in the arms, cut into rigid bodies dotted with snails, hidden safe, from the wild of the world.  I stand beneath the trees, arms outstretched, smiling.  Life is churning around me and my eyes drink in the wild of the world.  The sky, a robin’s egg blue, dotted with powdered clouds and a golden, molten sun.  The osprey cries her eerie shriek and a crab scrabbles across the beach.  The wind howls, blows, whistles, breezes.  I lower my arms, eyes dancing, my spirit, my smile, finally freed from the cage of cemented walls.  Was that pure happiness?  Is that what happiness feels like?



by Whitney Webber

MIS,  7th grade


It was the middle of the day and everyone was playing a friendly game of, “Camouflage.”  It was a new round and I had spotted the perfect hiding place.  I heard the, “It” counting and I ran toward the tree, surrounded by low hanging branches and tall grass.  I saw kids around me bolting to find somewhere to hide.  I saw the sun beating down on me and felt my skin burning.  I smelled the grass and the enormous tree, and the sun was so bright, I could almost smell the heat waves pouring down on me.  I sat in my hiding place and waited to be found.

Sitting among nature and taking in everything around me, I wanted to stay there forever, running among trees and splashing in cold creeks and sleeping under stars.  Feeling free from our modern world where nature is underappreciated.  Where people walk right past soft, green grass.  Where somewhere deep down, they have a childish urge to roll around in its green blades.

Sitting on the ground, breathing in nature, I wished that I could stay there forever.



by Hayden Kiely

MIS, 7th grade


Lying in the grass, small blades tickling your limbs,

letting the sun gently sizzle your pale skin.


Floating through the water,

letting the cool lift you effortlessly

through the calm current.

Your thoughts are beside you,

all you think of is obscene darkness,

walking you through that moment.


Walking through the lush forest,

not a twig snapping under your stride.

Your feet will carry you wherever they desire,

with no one to stop you,

you are free.


It’s moments like these that

define the meaning of nature,

that exposes your inner-self.

This, is nature.


 One Step Into my Soul

by Liza Litting

MIS, 7th grade


Step out of your thick wall of judgment, that guides you and keeps you back, stuck like Gorilla Glue.

Step out of your ideas of society, and your religion, or beliefs, and put on your worn-out Converse shoes, holes in the heels.

Open up the creaking, dusty door to your soul, and venture through the dimly lit hallways.

Step out into the long beach and let the sand squeak through your toes,

paint chipped from the nails.

The willow trees sway softly, shimmering in the shadows on the green grass.

The moon is still awake, in the mid-day heat.

Allow the sun to melt away your worries and clear your mind.  Pranayama.

The waves will carry you down,

back to the doorway glowing with life.  Breathe.

That door will stay open, as long as your mind does.  Your soul will bring you back,

out into the wild, full of adventure.




Whitewater Rafting Down the Alberton Gorge:

My arms burned as I heaved the rough paddle through the water.  My wetsuit was wet and sticky, like shin-guards after a soccer practice in the sweltering heat.  My face was flushed and I could feel the heat radiating through my cheeks.  The cry of an osprey cut through the crisp air, leaving only a reverberating note behind.  I looked up, hoping to see the majestic predator while I heard her song.  The sun glistened behind the rocky cliffs, outlining a jagged tooth.  My heart raced, pounding against my ribs like the relentless tide.  The rapid was coming. The suspense hung over me like a thunderstorm crackling and booming.  We rounded a bend and I could literally smell the excitement washing over us.  We slowly fell downward and the icy, cold water poured over me like a rainbow, gracefully arching over and leaving the spectators looking not so graceful.  The upward motion began again and we furiously paddled ourselves to the peak.  And then we fell, downward rushing forward, leaving my stomach in our spray.  I leaned forward, my stomach clenching automatically, my fingers tightening on the handle.  Then it hit us.

~Georgia, 6th grade